Advice from a Former Student Slacker

| October 23, 2017

In New York Times opinion piece ‘College Advice I Wish I’d Taken’, college writing professor Susan Shapiro reflects on some bad habits of hers as a former student after gaining a fresh perspective as a current educator. Shapiro’s suggestions on how students can get the most out of their classes, as well as how to develop more meaningful professional relationships with teachers and the student body, are influenced by her regrets of not having maximized her own educational experience to its full potential. She emphasizes how the basics- attending and participating in class, sitting in the front row, striving for a higher GPA, studying regularly- pave the way for a student to be noticed by a teacher and retain some individuality amongst largely attended lecture halls with hundreds of faces. After experiencing what it feels like to teach a group filled with both interactive and barely attentive students alike, Shapiro admits she ‘reward[s] those who try harder with recommendations, references, professional contacts and encouragement’.

In retrospect, Shapiro recalls that being ‘too cool’ to go to classes or care about her grades caused her to miss out on opportunities such as internships, scholarships, class trips; activities which could eventually pan out to job recommendations, networking, and perhaps more importantly, a deeper learning experience. Shapiro notes the importance of connecting with teachers in simple ways such as sending the occasional ‘thank you’ note, complementing an aspect of the lesson that was enjoyable, or even offering a perspective on the subject material. ‘Teachers are people too’, she states, encouraging students to reach out to professors to discuss their personal academic endeavors, as teachers are often eager and willing to guide and mentor students by way of advice, lecture and class invitations, personal references, and the like. Developing a friendship with a professor can provide many assets in the personal and professional realm, and the effects can last a lifetime.

To read the full article by Susan Shapiro, visit the following link:


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